It's strange. Despite the fact that the Wii's been around for a year and a half now, and despite the fact that Wii Sports is so popular among those who own the console, Top Spin 3 is actually the first 'serious' Wii tennis game.
We'd have thought that someone else would have jumped on the 'everyone loves playing tennis on the Wii' bandwagon before now, but there you go. Because of this, Top Spin 3 is the best realistic tennis game on the Wii by default. But does it live up to the accolade?
In short, yes it does, mainly due to the control system. Despite our fears that it would make the game a little over-simplified compared to its satisfyingly detailed older brothers, Top Spin 3's use of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk is actually pretty impressive.
Basically, the game asks you to point the Remote at the TV as you usually would, but to roll it over 90 degrees so it feels more like you're holding the handle of a tennis racquet. Strangely though, rather than making use of the Remote's accelerometer, it works out your stroke another way. When you're not swinging (in your ready position) you should have your Remote pointing at the screen.
As you begin to play your stroke, you swing the Remote back, at which point the game registers how quickly you moved it away from the telly. Then, when your player makes the swing, you have to match the timing as closely as possible, with the game picking up how quickly you move the Remote back across the screen. Put simply, it judges the swing on how fast you make the pointer move, rather than the Remote. And it works very well.
This also makes it easier to play special shots and put spin on your ball. Since it's registering the point at which your invisible pointer leaves the screen, you can easily slice or spin the ball by swinging in a diagonal motion. Lobs are much more satisfying when you play them by lifting the Remote upward. Crucially, the analogue stick gives you full control over not only your player but the direction of your shots too.
Naturally, multiplayer is the order of the day here but there's also a decent single-player career mode which should last you for a good while. Add to that an impressive selection of licensed players (though we reckon there could have been a few more in there) and you've got an enjoyable game that's ideal for tennis nuts. Shame there's no online mode, though.